To create a new island safe haven for nationally threatened mammal species which protects and enhances the island’s unique ecosystems. 

Flinders Island is a unique and wild place of immense natural beauty, with approximately 50 km of diverse and stunning coastline, featuring granite boulders, limestone headlands, sandy beaches, dune systems and sheltered bays. Approximately 75% of Flinders Island is covered with native vegetation, including remnant native vegetation and areas that were formerly cleared for agriculture and now regenerating with native coastal shrubs. 

Fauna species of note include hooded plover, pied oystercatcher, migratory shorebirds, osprey and white-bellied sea eagle. 

Since the late 1970s the island has been privately owned by the Woolford family and operated as a sheep station until the mid- 2000s. Over the past 15 years destocking has occurred as the owners transition the island to nature conservation and nature- based tourism enterprises. 

The role of safe havens and value of Flinders Island as a haven
Feral cats and foxes have been identified as the major cause of most of the 30+ extinctions of Australian mammals over the last 200 years. To mitigate against the risk of further extinctions, government and conservation NGOs have created areas that are predator free, providing ‘havens’ for our most at risk mammals. Australia’s network of havens consists of over 100 predator-free islands and over 20 fenced areas that conserve predator-susceptible mammals. 

Flinders Island provides a number of benefits as a safe haven:

  • ‘Built-in ’biosecurity provided by islands and no fencing costs;
  • Private ownership, remote locality and distance from shore reduces the potential for reinvasions;
  • The island experiences a relatively mesic climate, providing an additional level of mitigation against the threat of climate change;
  • At approximately 4000ha, Flinders Island can support viable populations of key threatened mammal species.

Project aims

A remote 4,000 ha SA island that is made free of exotic mammal pest species so that: 

  • a safe haven is created to enable the successful introduction of at least two nationally threatened mammal species; 
  • shorebirds and seabirds are able to breed and/or to(re-)colonise the island and to thrive, and 
  • extant native bird, reptile and invertebrate populations on the island can thrive. 

Project planning 

A detailed desktop assessment has been undertaken to identify the best candidates for introduction to Flinders Island. Based on this assessment priority species for introduction are banded hare-wallaby, Shark Bay bandicoot, dibbler and Nuyts/southern brown bandicoot. 

A comprehensive Operations Plan has been developed by Biodiversity Restoration Specialists1  to outline the planning, equipment, transport, personnel, and logistics required for the proposed eradications. In parallel, key approvals have been sought and obtained to undertake the operations. 

In developing the detailed costings, Biodiversity Restoration Specialists identified a funding shortfall. The project team are seeking additional funding partners to address the shortfall between what is required to deliver the full scope of the project and the combined financial and in- kind commitments of the Woolford family and the Australian and South Australian Governments. The plan and costings will continue to be refined in the lead up to eradication operations.

Due to the interdependencies of each aspect of the project to create a safe haven, implementation of eradication operations cannot begin until the full funding amount has been confirmed for this aspect. 

We invite you to become a partner in this exciting initiative and join us in creating the Flinders Island Safe Haven to protect our distinctive biodiversity today and into the future. 

Key project elements

Eradication of mice and rats
Eradication of rodents through the aerial delivery of a grain-based bait across the island, in accordance with best practice.

Eradicating cats
Application of CuriosityTM cat baits to target cats together with a follow-up phase consisting of intensive ground-based operations to locate and remove all remaining cats.

Sought from potential partners.

Mammal introductions and other restoration activities
Following successful eradication of feral species, introductions of small mammals will commence to establish new populations of highly endangered native mammals.

Additional opportunities for restoration, including active restoration of overstorey trees and shrubs, will also be pursued in the future.

The Flinders Island Safe Haven project has at its core a strong and collaborative partnership between the principal organisations delivering the project: Department for Environment and Water, NPWS SA, Eyre Peninsula Landscapes Board, the Woolford family and the Australian Government.

To date direct financial contributions from NPWSSA total over $200k with the total contribution over the life of the project estimated at $850k. The Woolford family have contributed over $10k directly to date, and over the course of the project will contribute approximately $250k along with approximately $680k capital investment that will directly support the project.

Additional funding of $500k from the Landscape Boards SA Landscape Priorities Fund, together with $1.67M funding secured from Department Agriculture, Water and Environment has allowed the project to progress to the next crucial phase.

Future partners can expect significant benefit from supporting the project including promotional opportunities, project updates and unique experiences.

Please contact us if you are interested in becoming a partner at

Island Stay

  • What a special place to take a family for a holiday
  • Great fishing spot for keen fisherman